Developing World: Women — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 11th June 2015.

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Photo of Lord Loomba Lord Loomba Liberal Democrat 4:45 pm, 11th June 2015

My Lords, I thank everyone who has taken part in this important debate, and the Minister for her response. I am particularly pleased that the Minister has assured us that DfID will fight for the rights of women, widows and girls at the UN summit in September. I also congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Verma, on supporting widows in many countries, including Bangladesh. It is very much appreciated.

The millennium development goals were set up in 2000 but did not contain a single mention of widows. I believe that, since the Loomba Foundation has raised awareness of the plight of widows, the UN will take positive action to include widows’ issues in SDGs. I request that the Minister take a note of that and do her very best work.

Many noble Lords spoke about many problems facing women, girls and widows, and each problem is unique. Three Lords spoke about Margaret Owen. I know Margaret Owen personally; she worked with me a few years ago at a conference and is a wonderful person, very dedicated to the war widows. We all know that it is the war widows who really suffer the most. At the same time, poverty affects widows in a bigger way. Therefore, it is also important that they are economically empowered.

The noble Baroness, Lady Flather, talked about child brides. What she said is very true. Only last week the Times of India reported that, at that moment in India, there were 269 more child brides. This is unacceptable in the 21st century.

I will not take up any more time because we have talked about all these issues before. International Widows Day is taking place in 12 days’ time and I very much hope that noble Lords will mark it, together with the Loomba Foundation.

Motion agreed.